RIP the Curious “Missing Link" Claim - Climate Litigation Watch

RIP the Curious “Missing Link” Claim

New Emails confirm MN AG Ellison lawsuit was Rockefeller Family Fund, green group’s “joint project”

CLW readers may recall U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Valerie Caproni’s dismissal three years ago of ExxonMobil’s suit against the NY and MA attorneys general for unconstitutionally pursuing them to silence speech they don’t like. Judge Caproni claimed a “missing link between the activists and the AGs,” and that it was “pure speculation” to suggest there was anything to a by then already impressive roster of connections between Rockefeller Family Fund and activists, the tort bar and AGs who have instigated litigation. 

CLW always found that contention curious, for a mound of reasons that has since turned into an enormous mountain, detailed here.

SDNY — actually, Judge Caproni — received the latest NYC climate suit against XOM (et al) when the company removed it in June.  

Now comes a two-email production to Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) from the University of Minnesota, in response to a followup request for correspondence with yet another outside group which showed up in emails mentioning the pitch meeting by activists to MN AG Keith Ellison to file suit against XOM, Koch and the American Petroleum Institute (API). These include:

1) an Email from Michael Noble, president of Fresh Energy — the green group engaged by Rockefeller Family Fund to recruit UMN Law faculty and Ellison to file his June 2020 suit — to RFF president Lee Wasserman to arrange a call for an update. It calls the lobbying of and memo to Ellison to support his climate lawsuit “our joint project”. Oh.

2) a followup Noble email to Wasserman informing him that, “As you recall, we are waiting for the hire of the ‘environmental fellows’. They have been chosen.” 

Those are the Bloomberg SAAGs, whom Noble then names by name and…celebrates that, “One is longtime MCEA Energy and Climate Program Director Leigh Currie who Fresh Energy has worked with extremely closely her entire public interest career (woo hoo, yay!!). She starts after Labor Day, and the other has just started, Pete Burda [sic] of the Robins firm, who is an experienced class action litigator.

I will reach out to him next week and send Leigh our doc tomorrow. I already spoke to her today to congratulate her and she was super excited to hear about our request to AG”.

The concept of what constitutes a missing link has apparently evolved over time. Clearly, however, so has the evidence of activist AGs taking their investigative and litigation game plans from activist private interests. CLW looks forward to learning how this campaign of lawsuits against energy companies, imported to the OAGs from the same activist donor in New York City through cutout groups, is the series of unrelated coincidences some claim it to be.